Epstein Becker Green was featured in Law360 Pulse, in “The Firms Charging into Secondary Cities as BigLaw Retreats,” by Xiumei Dong. Mark Lutes, Chair of the Board of Directors and Member of the Firm in the Health Care & Life Sciences practice, discusses the firm’s people first approach to recruitment and growth amid recent expansion in Portland, Oregon and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Read the full version – subscription required.)

Following is an excerpt:

While top-tier firms have recently tapered their migration to secondary legal markets, firm leaders and recruiters say these locations continue to hold appeal for midtier firms, citing advantages such as lower expenses and competitive billing rates.

Last year, the top 200 law firms opened at least 49 new offices in cities outside the traditional legal market, with emerging hot spots like Miami, Dallas and Denver among the top choices for expansion, according to data from Leopard Solutions and confirmed by Law360 Pulse.

Many of these firms expanded by recruiting groups and acquiring local boutiques to help set up a presence in the new region, Law360 Pulse's analysis showed. Meanwhile, some firms also followed their attorneys' lead into these areas, a trend fueled by the surge in remote work. …

Similarly, Epstein Becker Green expanded into Portland and Pittsburgh last year by recruiting lawyer groups to lead regional offices. Mark Lutes, the chairman of the firm's board of directors, attributed the growth to a "people first" approach, prioritizing hiring lawyers with national reputations and strong client bases in sub-specialties like healthcare and workforce management.

"It was the people, the lawyers first, and the geography second," Lutes emphasized. "Like every other firm or professional service, business clients hire lawyers first and firm second, and so when there are high-quality lawyers in our specialties that are available and might find value in our platform, we're going to try to get together with them."

Epstein Becker also set up a new location in Tampa, Florida, last year, bringing the total office count to 21. Lutes emphasized that the firm is "constantly in the market" for lawyers with national reputations and the skill sets desired by clients, and is willing to enter those markets where such talent exists.

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